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Poster: Robin_1990 Date: Apr 27, 2008 11:17am
Forum: feature_films Subject: I'm Confused

Somebody on another board once said that although 60's-Era "Days Of Our Lives" was never submitted for copyright and it's non-existant copyrights were never renewed, It would still be under copyright. Am I Missing Something Here?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Apr 27, 2008 2:59pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

This one is probably hard to answer. There are a few reasons why an unregistered, unrenewed program would still have copyright protection.

The scripts were copyright and the production can claim literary rights.

The music is copyright and the distributor claims musical rights.

The title of the program or characters are the subject of registered trademarks. This can effectively give an item copyright into perpetuity.

A good example of this is a 1954 live TV production of the James Bond story "Casino Royale". This is effectively PD in that the broadcast was never registered for copyright and the registration was never renewed. However, the people who own the James Bond film franchise (who had nothing to do with the making of this production) claim some level of rights over this and the other unnofficial James Bond films because of their literary rights and their registered trademarks.

Trademarks can also effect the distribution of a copyright film or TV show. The 1966-7 Batman TV series which was made by 20th Century Fox cannot be released on DVD because Warner Bros (the owners of DC comics and owners of the Batman trademark) licence the trademark, which they wont.

I don't know if this is the case with a program like "Days of Our Lives". But it is the only thing I can think of.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2008-04-27 21:59:40

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Poster: vaagheid Date: Apr 28, 2008 9:35am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

Right and how about the Popeye and Bugs Bunny cartoons in the public domain. I know the characters still have a copyright on them, but the cartoons are being placed all over the internet.

Or: the book adaptions of Meet John Doe and Escape From Sobibor, How is the copyright in these cases?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Apr 28, 2008 2:20pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

This is getting into complex issues.

It used to be believed that uderlying properties were tied to the public domain work if the work was used as a whole. That, even if a trademark, musical copyright or literary copyright was present, it was still OK to use the work.

Generally courts interpret legislation. I don't have specific references but US courts have given conflicting rulings on underlying copyrights. There have been instances where courts have determined that the use of underlying properties in situe in a PD film did infringe copyright. There have also been instances where they have been found not to infringe (best example of this was the court ruling that PD film trailers do not infringe the underlying copyright film they contain clips of.)

Genarally a company can, even after letting something be exploited for a long time, suddenly decide to protect a trademark, literary copyright or musical copyright. This is usually done with C&D letters, not court action. Charade, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Holcroft Covenant, Its a Wonderful Life, The Snows of Kilamanjaro... The list goes on and on for movies where the copyright is effectively reclaimed through these means.

Also, keep in mind that just because something IS readily available as PD does not mean that it IS PD. Or, at least, that it is universally exploitable as PD. Loads of movies are exploited by DVD labels and online that may be PD in one element but not in others. Lots of movies that have never been PD at all have been exploited like a PD movie and that is not including orphaned works.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2008-04-28 21:20:45

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Poster: vaagheid Date: May 2, 2008 10:58am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

Here comes another question VIDEO-CELLAR.
When an author is dead for longer than 70 years, It generally means that the work is automatically PD.
If a character is made up by an author who died in 1938/1937 or before, the character is PD (Sherlock Holmes, Dracula).

Now i have noticed that E.C. Segar died in 1938, does this mean from this year or next year onwards the character of POPEYE is PD?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: May 2, 2008 3:28pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

Trademark is the important factor here. Popeye is probably the subject of a trademark. Trademarks can last forever. So you could have a PD character that cannot be used for commercial purposes.

The best example of this is Mickey Mouse. A few years ago before the US copyright extentions, the first MM cartoon was due to fall automatically into PD. However, even if this happened the character would not have become public property. You could have been sued by Disney for using the cartoon for commercial purposes as a Trademark infringement.

Dont know about the US but in Australia if you use PD cartoons you can't print character names (have to use screen caps of the title card), you have to watch that you only lift character images from the actual PD Cartoon, and not use only one character. Under our trademarks law you can get away with calling a DVD "Bugs Bunny and friends" but not "Bugs Bunny".

However, a trademark doesn't really effect non-commercial use like archives, libraries and IA.

Sherlock Holmes, as a character, has almost always been PD. Most of the Conan Doyle Holmes stories were not protected by Copyright. In fact it was only the last stories from the 1920s that were ever protected. People were making 'unauthorised' Holmes pastiches for 25 years before ACD died.

Dracula is another character that has never been in copyright. This one actually annoys me a bit because the failure of the courts to notice that there was absolutely no copyright in the novel Dracula is the reason why "Nosferatu" doesn't survive in the state that it deserves to. But it also makes me laugh a bit because Universal Pictures paid a fortune for non-existant rights that they still think they 'own'.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2008-05-02 22:28:56

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Poster: George Peter Gatsis Date: Feb 23, 2011 11:21am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

Video-Cellar, could you expand on the copyright on Dracula and why it's odd?

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Poster: Robin_1990 Date: May 3, 2008 7:03am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

Hey Video-Cellar you didn't answer my question. I checked and the footage, scripts and music didn't have their non-existant copyrighted renewed (Nor were they ever subitted for copyright). Yet somebody told me that it's still under copyright (It was released in 1965)

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Poster: vaagheid Date: May 3, 2008 6:57am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

So it's okey to adapt the storyline an old Popeye-comic written/drawn by E.C. Segar if you change the names of Popeye, Olive and so onwards.
And is okey to publish an Segar/Popeye-comic or to use the name Thimble Theatre for you're adaption (I believe that isn't trademarked).

And how is copyright-case with the Winsor McKay-comics (Dreams of a Rare-rabbitt Fiend, Little Nemo In Slumberland)

This post was modified by vaagheid on 2008-05-03 13:57:07

This post was modified by vaagheid on 2008-05-03 13:57:22

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Poster: Robin_1990 Date: Apr 27, 2008 3:06pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: I'm Confused

Sorry, I just checked and the music + scripts are public domain too when it comes to the 60's episodes.